What is Political Arrogance?
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.—H.D.Thoreau
All of us have a life path that has brought us to a point in our careers, personally and professionally that influence who we are. These teachings are through genetics, parental or role model teachings, academia, and our own pursuits and interests. They form us; make us into who we are; values, those sometimes elusive traits that hopefully keep changing for the better. All of us should be evolving, changing, trying to improve who we are. If one has not changed their religious or political beliefs since high school, or at least questioned them, then unequivocally one is falling short in their life. We are then not learning, not changing not evolving, we become stuck in the safety of the past, clinging to the same teachings, and trying to desperately to validate our old beliefs when it is a drastically different time. As a youngster we hopefully have someone we respect and look up to. We assimilate our mentor; pick up some of their teachings. Looking at our goals our aspirations is a collection of sorts; a collection of teachings that develop who we are. These teachings usually lead into behavior; the behavior can lead to positive rewards, accolades, or negative mistakes. We hope, through the mistakes we become a better person, we will have regrets; if we are to develop character we must have regrets. Those who claim they have no regrets are either in denial, or they are so arrogant, so narcissistic, that they refuse to acknowledge them. Why and how do individuals become politicians, strive down the political path to have influence to run a country. Is there altruism here? Are the cascades of negative opinions about politicians worthy of their foundation? Was there severe personality injury at an early age, which they had to pursue a path of media attention and an illusion of power and control? Is it just among the politicians, or do we see this personality in other professions, health care providers, lawyers and police officers to mention a few? Is it actually fare to blame politicians, government for our state of affairs or should we all take on more responsibility than we do? As Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country?” Overstated, but accurate.
We as humans have an extreme habit of pointing the externalized finger. It is easier, temporarily relieves us of responsibility, and puts us into denial mode. The blaming of each political party in politics appears to be getting worse and worse. The behavior is drastically familiar to adolescents blaming and embellishing the facts to prove their point and trying to convince the party and the public that the other is wrong. All tactics are fair game, including the direct and indirect inducement of fear, even to the point of blatant lies. As humans become involved in political banter, we wrap ourselves in a cause, dig up some information and portray it as a used car salesman trying to convince the other this is the best automobile for the drive. More and more, religion is used, global warming is used, all aspects of foreign policy is used to present their case, and convince us one party has our best interest in mind, and the conservative right even attaches God to it as stapling on a flyer at the last minute to help convince us it is the correct path. If any mental health clinician struggled with trying to identify a narcissistic personality disorder, you need not look any farther than Washington, or your State capital. It is not any wonder there is so much sexual acting out among politicians, and money laundering, hidden agendas, and dishonesty. It fits the psychological profile of a power and control addiction. These individuals are so far removed from our personal pain and the countries true agenda, which they either forgot what true altruism is or they never had the trait to begin with. Origins of labels and categories have their benefit. Especially in the scientific community, however what are the ill effects of labels, categories in our political arena? Communism, Socialism, Imperialism, Democracy, Democrats and Republicans. What conjures in your brain as you read these labels? Past teachings, stereotypes, false beliefs maybe of how it was or what you have been taught by parents and school, what about freedom, freedom to live, without the attachments of political influence or the subjective sway of one group over another. Individuals more and more refuse the “grey” walk of life and lean towards narrow minded black and white conclusions. This narrow minded dogmatic stance is without a doubt the wall that prevents unity, which polarizes our country and our world. When one is narrow minded, closed off to entertain other ideas or at least contemplate change one can easily be seen as arrogant. From the spouse that states,” I will do whatever I want because this is my house,” to the follower of a political paradigm that one wraps their soul around and rationalizes it as a so called, “cause.” When I become so set in my ways that I will not entertain new ideas, my children need to slap me and my wife needs to sit me down and share her gross disappointment in my stubbornness. We all must look at ourselves, realize that black and white perceptions, “one way is the only way” thoughts are frequently if not all the time painful to others, and one hundred percent wrong when teaching children, and others. Sounds a tad dogmatic, does it not? One can argue that to see the grey in life as “the way,” is one sided and dogmatic. To the contrary, when one is open to alternatives, one is more accepting of others.
Hoe does Political Arrogance begin?
So where does political arrogance originate from, or for that matter arrogance in general? If we operationally define arrogance as Webster’s does, “An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.” Then many politicians fit the definition as well as non-politicians. Arrogance which is different from narcissism plays a key role in being able to reach out to others, and resolve conflict, reach compromise, and find an inner peace. Arrogance arises out of pain, hurt and a beating down of one’s emotional self at a time of emotional development when one needs to be strengthened and supported. My dark side arose from my abuse, my refusal to look at my dark side, and my overcompensation to strive for perfection. Ah yes perfection, the delusion of a higher false self that never exists, except in Greek mythology, and fairy tales. Humility has become a dear friend of mine, however it slips away from time to time and my closest peers, children and love of my life brings me down to reality. It is not an easy path, and it is a harder path to acknowledge that it exists. I have close friends that fail to see their arrogant side; they will have to walk a lonely path till they look into their own stream of humility. What is self confidence then? The ability to feel empowered because you have been in that situation before, or you are aware of your limitations and there is no need to impress or feel you have to instill a reaction from others. Self confidence is what we strive for, and many of us fall short or overcompensate and walk a walk of arrogance. When one is demeaning, or looking to impress for the sake of recognition that my friend is arrogance. Self confidence does not look for external triggers to feed the ego, self confidence originates from failure, more failures and success. Self confidence is not afraid to risk, but uses good judgment and is not reckless. Self confidence is an outgrowth of realizing just how insignificant we truly are in the world we live in. Self confidence walks hand in hand with courage and neither is intimidated by failure, or ridicule.
Why is Change so important?
Presidents seem to fail at an extremely high rate at finding humility. The position itself is associated with arrogance, and power; the president of a company, the President of the board of directors, and the President of the United States. Where did this originate? How did their personalities develop? We will not be able to target all the presidents; however we will focus on some of the most prominent and how their personalities spilled out onto their children, “us.” Why is there a significant statistical reliability between state troopers, and their height? Is it coincidence that the majority of troopers fall under the average height in the United States for men? Some states have a minimum height requirement for state troopers at five foot nine inches. If as men we could find inner strength from our soul, believe in our strength of our minds and not wallow in insecurity because of stature, I wonder how this world would be different. If we could be humble in the presence of a majestic oak tree, or not feel weak to cry when moved at a sunset behind the Tetons we might find a different person inside. Maybe that person was always there, it just needed to be tapped into.
Politicians are supposed to be there for the people, for the town, county, state, and country. Our society is changing; we are for the most part self absorbed, and looking out for, “us.” Politicians are no different; however they are in the limelight more frequently. When they are more concerned about perceptions of others, and promises that overflow their proverbial ability to get votes they are for themselves. We know are bodies are changing every day, growth, development, then the slow decline, of aging. Physically we are always changing, emotionally we are always changing, relationships changing, and the country is changing. Can we ignore the blatant fact that if we absolutely know that change is evitable and constant then the original laws placed in order need to be amended? The Bill of Rights that were implemented no longer applies as they were written. When we change, when our culture changes we need to address the changes and make amendments. How naïve of us to think that they exist as accurate as they were meant to be, when many laws have been implemented for better and for worse. The possession of a hawk feather or eagle feather was implemented to stop the slaying and taking of predatory birds. The birds have now flourished, not that we should shoot these birds; however we should not be prosecuted for possession of a feather found in the woods. The same holds true for the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms; do we really believe our founding fathers expected the progression of technology for assault rifles, plastic handguns to pass through metal detectors, and the defamation of character by arrogant white supremacists towards minorities? Oliver Wendall Holmess Jr. stated in the State Senate one cannot yell fire in a crowded theater. This would induce panic and could potentially hurt or kill others. It should NOT be protected by the First Amendment. There is judgment and limitations to freedom of speech. One cannot just say whatever they like, without repercussions. Again grey, all of life even the Bill of Rights are not black and white. Change continues, it will always continue. Our government, our citizens MUST understand, MUST implement the change that is needed with the times. To ignore this basic concept is an outright atrocity. We cannot wave the Bill of Rights as a catch all patriotic flag when change continues in the lives of all of us. Adaptation, and acclimation to the change keeps our head above water and swimming, refusing to change leads to anarchy, anger, stubborn ingrained views and narrow minded beliefs. Are we really that narrow minded that we cannot see the Bill of Rights does not pertain in the literal sense to all of us in this era. In life we change, we advance, and technology is so much different now. We have learned (Thank God) not enough but we have learned. If this topic is broached with the patriotic flag waving prideful Americans, well I look like a Communist. In reality I am looking for objectivity and the importance of waking up to reality.
President Obama based his campaign on, “change.” A change one can believe in.” If one is going to use such a promising slogan, a motivational promise of need, then implement it. He has found out that it is not that easy of a walk. The critics have been many, some because of color, some because he is a Democrat, and well…some just because he is the President. Sadly some idioms never change. When change is evident, suddenly or transiently, it behooves us to not change with the times and act.
Why is Fear important in Politics?
There has never been a better example then, “the war on drugs” campaign. The induced fear of recreational drug abuse by our teenagers, and the induced fear by our government over the years as well as the school system. The amount of money made by attorneys, local police, small and large government agencies, treatment centers, and the cost to taxpayers on the prison time is insurmountable. Issues of experimentation with drugs or mind altering substances have been around since man walked the Earth. Once again, change with the times, and induced fear. One is not done and what is implemented with precise accuracy. The main issue is appropriate parenting for our children, not the intense expenditure of tax payer’s money for stopping cannabis. The induction of fear that cannabis would drive one to do crazy behavior was started in the government years before there was a massive war on drugs, again the induction of fear, and distortion of reality as well as the distortion and interpretation of a man’s liberty. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Thomas Jefferson 1819.
Why is it that we are so aware of relationships changing over time, we get in routines, and frequently become complacent thinking the other person will always be there for us? For the most part, we do not live every day as if it is our last. We do not embrace our wife or husband as if we were still dating them. Time impacts relationships, change happens, we get more and more comfortable with the daily rituals. Intimacy decreases, compliments slowly fall to the wayside. When we become aware of these changes we often become angry, disappointed, and melancholy. Do we not do the same dance with our government, do we not show anger and frustration at complacency and lack of change. We MUST recognize the change, recognize we want better, recognize all we need to do is voice the want and then do something pro-active. One person at a time, DO NOT LET YOUR REALTIONSHIP BECOME STAGNANT. Relationships as opposed to government can be targeted, on a much more efficient manner, in politics we often do not feel as if we can make a change. We can, it is very slow, but we can make a difference. We must recognize the short comings before any difference can be made.
Why is independent thinking important in Politics?
The word, “politics” is of Greek derivation which implies a group of people to make a decision which is applied for the most part to behavior making collective decisions. This behavior consists of social reactions involving authority or power, and result in tactics to form a policy.
Politicians and athletes, the game, if you will; two teams competing and vying for a prize; that prize can be monetary, status, or power. When a professional baseball player, competes for the Triple Crown, or the World Series, doesn’t a politician compete? Republicans and Democrats compete against each other vying for the prize, a seat in public office. Many athletes, (not all of course) will go to any extreme to achieve success. This ranges from injecting their bodies with steroids, corking bats illegally to get that extra pop and distance on the ball and they may even feign getting hit by a pitch to convince the umpire they should take their base; when one competes for a hefty prize with monetary gain and power as an end to a means it brings out the dark side in people the vast majority of the time.
Politicians attempt all avenues to seduce the American people that they are “the one,” the savior to change the economy and fight for the common man. Are we that gullible? Do we not see the politicians’ corked bat, their embellishment when they feel they have been hit by a pitch from the opposing team?
Politicians and athletes when competing for a prize will lie, and manipulate the public and it is sadly all too common with the human condition. Of course not all, and not all athletes cheat; however too many do which adds to the bitter taste of distrust. To make matters worse when history dictates that politicians can and will manipulate the general public, it becomes expected, common place and sadly routine. So the public’s job is not so much to pick out the best candidate but to pick out the one who lies the least, who appears the most sincere and attempt to read through the academy award winning acting job.
Politicians look for the majority, and try to identify with the issues, the hobbies, and the interests as well as the passions of the people. How many gun owning, truck driving, CB radio enthusiasts embrace the Democrat who wants to put up energy efficient wind machines, and promote stem cell research? They could care less but do not take away their AK 47’s and seven handguns for these are an extension of their ego.
How many tree hugging, pro-choice, global warming believers embrace the praises of the tax cutting Republican banter who wants to drill oil wells in the Alaska wildlife refuge while reducing taxes for the wealthy and the alleged middle class takes it on the chin?
We are a nation not united but clearly divided with our own selfish needs and wants. Is one not aware of this charade by politicians who tap dance their speeches to gain our attention and promise our life, our hobbies and our interests will be protected?
We must start looking beyond our own nose; we must start looking at others and the unfortunate. Not those that suck the marrow out of Medicare, and lay back milking our tax dollars. We must look at those that are without. When we start giving back as a community, when we start giving more back than asking for our own needs, when we stop wanting more materialistic items and start to give more back then we can call the shots. Then we can control the politicians, and tell them to take a walk. When the politicians have nothing to appeal to us with our selfish interests then where do they go with their speeches. They can take a walk, a long, lonely walk for we will be united, less selfish and their antics of passionate speeches, with clenched fists, and their red, white, and blue ties will be nothing more than what they are, a casting opportunity for an upcoming movie, called “Please like me when I tell you everything you want to hear.”
Charismatic leaders, the ability to prey on fear, appealing to individual interests and disillusioned followers and you have the ingredients for a cult. We think of cults as groups usually affiliated with a religious doctrine of such. This does not have to be the case; a cult can be a following, a group that embraces an eccentric non-mainstream leader. With this definition there are cults or groups that have benefit, that give back to society, however by the strict definition this is not the case. A “true cult” must have a leader who can entice, lead, and sway principals that usually are detrimental to the group followers or the society.
We are all victims to some degree in life. We are subject to taxes, followers of our political system, and media mongrels, salivating at the television looking for answers; the newest home décor to any drama that appeals to our interest. Look at the following of FOX news, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Blatant racial remarks, scientific bastardization that flies in the face of high school chemistry and the back slapping support to multi-million dollar corporations. I know farmers, hard working, blue collar farmers who embrace FOX because of their ability to wrap themselves in the American flag, pro apple pie, and armed services as a blatant manipulation to appeal the veteran and the hard working individual as their only agendas are clearly ratings and money. It is a sad state of affairs when we become so gullible that drama, and embellishment attracts us to the silver screen. It is true the human condition has always been drawn to destruction, the car accident on the third turn at Indianapolis and it is no different with the media. The media and politicians know what peaks our interest, and if they have to, they will create that car accident to vie for our interest and trust. Glen Beck is a champ at this; sadly, not enough individuals see the slow insidious manipulation. We must give credit where credit is due. Glen Beck has it down, the inflection, the affect, the gestures, the chalk board to give that educational flair, and the topics. Give him a fearful audience and off you go, just be aware of the attachments of puppet strings. We all must be alert enough, and self introspective enough to know when they become attached and how to cut them; that my friend is true freedom, and freedom of thought. Not the manipulation by any group or individual. We can easily become victims of the media. Really no different than the elderly giving their savings up to charismatic Evangelical hosts on the silver screen. We can become manipulated and sucked into the embellishment of Beck and others, based on our fear and lack of knowledge. Take the time to research the truth, make an informed decision, do not just react form your emotions because it is easier.